Comparison between herbal and modern medicine

Comparison between herbal and modern medicine

Health is an important point to worry about for all human beings. Having a really healthy body allows people to live longer and better lives.

However, many problems can affect a person's overall fitness in some way or another. Most health illnesses cause, in the best-case scenario, discomfort, and in the worst-case scenario, death.

Ischaemic heart disease, in particular, amounts to the highest recorded reason for death globally. It estimates at 16% of all death cases worldwide, according to a study by the World Health Organization.

Yet, while many harmful diseases and ailments are incurable, most get better with the right kind of medical treatment.

The more popular type of treatment in the current time is modern medicine. This is what one gets at hospitals generally. However, herbal medicine has many benefits as well that make it a viable choice.

One of the main similarities between modern and traditional medicine is that both have seen many successful cases. And a lot of people globally opt for one or the other and get good results.

Likewise, there are some risks involved in both cases.

Before depending on either of them, you should consider their different features. In this article, you would learn about the difference between traditional medicine and modern medicine in detail.

What do you mean by Modern Medicine?

The regular visits to the doctor for treatment at the hospitals or clinics fall under the broad term of modern medicine. Indeed, this is the more commonly practiced medical treatment available in most societies.

A good example of this is a person who gets a pink eye or sore throat. Or, they got into an accident and are bleeding profusely. They want quick medical attention. So, where should they go?

The answer for this is a care clinic or the emergency room, respectively.

There, the patients receive antibiotic treatments, a prescription for particular pharmaceutical drugs, operations, etc. Of course, this depends on what kind of problem the doctor in charge diagnoses.

Generally, the professionals that practice in the modern healthcare field include:

  • O. (doctor of osteopathy)
  • MD (medical doctor)
  • Surgeon
  • Physician assistants
  • Physical therapists
  • Registered nurses
  • Psychologists

Over the years, modern medicine has seen a lot of advancements in procedures and prescription medications.

Overall, varieties of these medications heal different types of problems that often lead to death. Additionally, people are less likely to suffer permanent disabilities thanks to some varieties of modern medicine.

Indeed, since 1970, deaths due to heart diseases and strokes have dropped by 60% and 70%, respectively. Overall, modern medicine has brought many other such improvements in many physical conditions and improves overall human health.

In fact, in the U.S., the average human life span has increased from 69.7 years to 80 years between 1960-2007.

What do you mean by Herbal Medicine?

As the same suggests, this type of treatment deals with different types of natural remedies from herbs. Herbal supplements also fall under this category. Overall, this type of medication is a branch of alternative medicine.

Indeed, such medical practices are used in the place of regular medicines in many communities. In fact, according to the WHO reports, at least 80% of the whole world uses some version of herbal treatments.

An example of this includes when you have a problem with blood pressure. If you follow modern medicine, a doctor will give you a prescription drug for treatment.

Instead, you can change your diet to add herbs rich in calcium, magnesium, and many other nutrients. In fact, one 24-week long study showed that garlic, in particular, helps with reducing blood pressure.

These medications are good for helping with problems like chronic fatigue, allergies, premenstrual syndromes, etc.

Moreover, some commonly known and popular types of herb-related treatments are region-based.

Two proper examples of this are traditional medicines of China and India. The latter is also known as Ayurvedic medicine.

Moreover, both of these traditional medicinal treatment plans have been in practice for over 3,000 years.

Differences in benefits

You would notice the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and modern medicine equally. As for the benefits, they are explained more carefully hereafter.

Modern medicine

This type of medicine has changed the scope of healthcare in recent years. Indeed, they are benefits of modern medicine for a lot of different health issues, and some are mentioned below:

  • Cancer- Those who have cancer live longer with the help of modern medicine. Until 1990, the death for this was high globally. But, with the help of modern medicine, this rate has dropped to 16%.
  • HIV/AIDS- In 1995, the death rate for HIV/AIDS victims increased to its highest record. Since then, the rate has dropped over 75% worldwide.
  • Early detection- Over the years, the medical industry has seen many changes due to new research and improved treatments. Because of this, many conditions that took time to catch are detectable now. One good example of this is cancer. Certainly, in recent times, cancer patients detected at the early stages have a better chance of living.
  • Hospitalization- Due to advanced treatments and drugs, not everyone has to go to the hospitals. Instead, they can buy the medications and receive treatment at home. One example of this is the newer options like inhalers, which include corticosteroids. Even children can use this. Consequently, the chances of getting hospitalized have diminished by 50%.
  • Increased life expectancy- With the help of modern medicine, many people are getting the chance at a new life. Indeed, many conditions like tuberculosis used to kill the victims, and childbirth deaths were high. At the moment, these rates are much lower.

Herbal medicine

The benefits of herbal medicine are also available in a lot of aspects. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Natural- This type of treatment is more natural since the herbs come directly from plants. So, those who want to heal their chronic illnesses naturally can try herbal remedies.
  • Easily available- Most of the herbs that have certain healing properties are found almost everywhere. For example, ginger, oregano, cardamon, and similar items are common herbs available in many places. So, people can use them regularly.
  • Low-cost- The prescription drugs that pharmaceutical companies produce are not affordable. At least, the continuous use of them every day would deplete your funds overall. On the other hand, the natural herbs are more readily available and do not cost a lot.
  • Simple use- People use many herbs in their daily diet, and many have distinct flavors. Thus, people can consume them every day, and it would improve their overall health.
  • Prevents diseases- Many herbs have been in use for treating and preventing diseases for a long time. The Chinese traditional medicines use herbs like ginseng, garlic, and ginkgo Biloba. As for their uses, these work to improve health in a lot of different ways. Many beneficial nutrients are available within them.

Differences in drawbacks

Much like positives, there are negative sides to both modern and herbal medicines. The difference between them is listed hereafter.

Modern medicine

The following are some of the common cons of using modern medicine:

  • Costly- Indeed, many pharmaceutical companies develop and sell drugs. But, the costs for most treatments are very high. Thus, not everyone can afford them.
  • Invasive surgeries- While there are treatments available that do not involve cutting into the body, invasive surgeries are common. However, these are not always effective and even cost high bills in hospitals.
  • Side effects- One of the biggest drawbacks of modern medicine is that many of them cause side-effects. Since there are harsh components in these medicines, using wrong dosages does more harm than good. In fact, some can even enhance the already serious condition.

Herbal medicine

A few of the commonly argued problems of herbal medicine are as follows:

  • Lack of many studies- While herbs are good for treating many health issues, there is a big shortage of verified studies. So, it is not correct to state that these herbs can cure health conditions. In fact, reportedly, selling these products as guaranteed cures is not legal in many countries.
  • May contain toxic elements- Some of the herbal remedies may have toxic minerals, like lead. They are not tested well beforehand. Thus, it is not best to rely on them blindly.
  • Dubious safety- Some of the herbs are not very safe for consumption, as it harms specific organs. One example is kava kava. While this does help reduce anxiety, it harms the liver condition.

Which is better?

In many ways, both modern medicine and herbal medicine benefit humans. But, they have faults, as well.

In terms of improving the lifespan, though, modern medicine wins the race against herbal medicine. Indeed, there are many types of conventional medications that help treat life-threatening issues. Not to mention, they are tested beforehand.

Yet, herbal medicines are useful in their own way. While they do not cure the ailments completely, they do help reduce the harsh symptoms. Hence, quality of life is improved. Not to mention, many of them affect the healthy functioning of the body in an overall manner.

However, it is important to keep in mind that modern medicine does not treat everything. And overdosing on any medication can result in a worse state.

Besides, complementary medical treatments, which include both techniques simultaneously, are good alternatives to try.


All in all, in the comparison of modern medicine vs. alternative medicine, both types have benefits and drawbacks. But, overall, they do improve the health of the users in many ways. Regardless, it is best to consult a doctor first and proceed accordingly.

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